120 days left

Nadhifah Akbari Habibie (INA YES to USA YP 16–17)

When I thought being away from Nasi Padang was hard, having to think about leaving my life here behind is harder. The thought of being thousands of miles away, from your best friends. Whom I see everyday, laugh and shared all your memories. Leaving a house full of strangers when I first walked in but now they’re more than family. How could I bear the thought that I’ll be leaving that entirely behind? It sucks, I know. All the discomfort, all the insecurities, all the uncertainties are now the comfort, secure and certain place. How I love the cold weather, the chilly winds that spikes up through your bones, the pretty snowfall in December, and the glorious January, and here I am, in February. Waiting for the snow to melt away, the flowers to bloom and the sun to set longer. Oh how love it. I’ll miss the sight of the yellow school bus, the school trips, the outside of school activities, the volunteering, everything.

I’ve been here longer than I’ll be here. To even think I’d come this far, oh boy, what a journey. Starting from Christmas. Being placed with a Muslim family doesn’t necessarily mean that I couldn’t experience Christmas. Instead, I was invited to spend the whole Christmas break with my other family, the Allen family. I’ve been so lucky to have both family are so welcoming to me and allow me to experience both living with a Muslim family and a Mormon family here in Utah. Sledding is one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in life. Climbing up the hill and sledding down twice as fast as when you’re going up. Oh how the white snow hurts your eyes when you walked outside of your house. How the warmth of the open fire was there ready to stand by you. How excited I was waiting for Santa Claus with my little sister. Then, waking up at 4 in the morning only to find the tree was stuffed with presents and our stockings were also filled with candies. New years in here are different with how I usually celebrate new years. Usually, there’d be showers of fireworks already prepared for the whole city, in here we have to lit our own fireworks in the cold, drink cider apple and play bingo till the end of the night.

I also have done some cool stuff like going to an NBA game. I’ve never liked basketball but my brothers love the NBA. So I went to see and found out that basketball is definitely an interesting game. The Utah jazz was pretty good. Then, soon, I’d be going with my school to Washington DC for a week. I only have 120 days left here but I’m going to try to make the best out of it. Because then, I’d be glad to look back and say ‘I’m so glad I did that!’ I have not regret my decision to be an exchange student ever and I won’t. I’ve learnt so much that I feel like I’ve changed so much and have become the best version of myself than I have ever been before.

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